9 posts categorized "Construction"

05/05/2014

Jetta Operating looking at new quarters in downtown Fort Worth

Anthracite Realty Partners, a real estate development firm owned by Jetta Operating President Greg Bird, has agreed to buy a downtown lot from The Fort Worth Club for an office building that would serve as Jetta's new headquarters. The energy producer has had offices in the Fort Worth Club Building since 1991. The property, now a parking lot, is three-quarters of a block bounded by Taylor and Lamar streets on the east and west, and by Sixth and Fifth streets on the north and south. FWC bought the property from the Star-Telegram in 2008. The sale is expected to close by the end of June pending due-diligence review. Terms were not disclosed. Bennett Benner Partners, a Fort Worth architectural firm, will handle the review and initial planning. The building under consideration would include some retail space and also a parking garage.

"Fort Worth has always been Jetta's home, and we are delighted about the potential of this new downtown Fort Worth development," Bird said in a prepared release, which said the intent is to develop a Class A multiuse office building. The release also quotes FWC President Tim Carter as saying the club "is excited about this opportunity to be able to provide our members, tenants and guests with access to additional secure and convenient covered parking." FWC already owns a 300-space parking garage attached to its building at 306 W. Seventh St.

-- Jim Fuquay

02/19/2013

FW's Sundance Square reaches construction milestone with topping out of two new buildings

Downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square expansion reached a construction milestone this week with the topping out of The Commerce and The Westbrook office buildings, its developer said.

The two buildings are among three new buildings and a public plaza planned in the heart of the 35-block Sundance Square, between Third and Fourth streets, and Commerce and Throckmorton streets.

The concrete super structure has been completed on both buildings and roofs have been poured, Sundance Square said.

Ductwork and framing has begun on some floors of the buildings with air handling units used for the HVAC systems also being installed. Exterior walls will begin to go up in the next 30 days as the project takes shape and nears an October completion date, Sundance said.

The Commerce, 420 Commerce St., is a five-story, 83,000-square-foot building, and The Westbrook, 425 Houston St., is six-stories and 93,000 square feet. Both will have ground level retail space.

"We are right on schedule with this project," said Johnny Campbell, president and CEO of Sundance Square. "The buildings and plaza will open later this year and we are planning a community celebration for November. When this project is completed, the plaza itself will become a destination within Sundance Square."

An underground storm sewer replacement along Main Street will be completed in time to open up Main Street for the Main St Fort Worth Arts Festival in mid-April, Sundance said.

Construction also begins this month on the permanent, multi-purpose stage at the base of The Westbrook. The steel structure of the clock tower in The Westbrook will be added by early March.

_ Sandra Baker

02/06/2013

Acme Brick reopening Parker County plant after three years of being closed

In a sign of the improving economy and homebuilding market, Fort Worth-based Acme Brick Co. has reopened it plant in Bennett, just west of Weatherford, this week.

The facility had been shuttered since 2009.

"Over the course of the past year, we have seen a rebirth of activity here in the Metroplex with construction now totaling 83 million square feet and forecasted to rise by double digits in 2013," said Dennis Knautz, Acme president and CEO. "Given the recovering construction sector and the strong demand seen at other Acme plants, we believed that it is an absolute necessity to restart operations at this facility in order to have an adequate spring supply of brick for our homebuilder customers."

Acme said it also restarted a third kiln at its Texas Clay plant in Malakoff, near Athens, in December because that plant saw increased demand in 2012.

The Bennett plant was built in 1996 on the site of the company’s first brick making facility. That plant began making hard-fired bricks in 1891.

Homebuilding peaked in 2006 with construction activity reaching 182 million square feet of space, Acme said.

"We witnessed demand plummet by nearly 70 percent to a low of only 57 million square feet by the start of 2011," Knautz said. "I believe we can finally say with confidence that our local homebuilding market is back."

The Bennett plant has the capacity to produce 2 million residential brick a week, or enough brick for 150 average-sized homes, Acme said.

Acme was acquired by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 2000.

_ Sandra Baker

10/04/2012

DFW home starts surged in third quarter

New home construction jumped 34.5 percent in the year's third quarter compared to a year ago, the fifth straight quarter of gains and the best since the second quarter of 2010, Residential Strategies said Thursday. There were 5,173 new home starts in the quarter, and for the first time since 2007, starts outpaced sales, the Dallas real estate research firm said. "The confluence of solid area job growth, ultra-low mortgage rates, tight existing home inventory and improving buyer confidence is propelling the DFW housing market forward with a solid recovery," said partner Ted Wilson. On an annual basis, the third-quarter starts equated to 16,431 starts for the year, which is just short of the rate seen during 2010's second quarter, when the government's homebuyer incentive program was in effect. That  tax-driven activity was not sustainable, Wilson said, and "meeting that previous interim high with organic growth represents a milestone in the recovery process."

Builders ended the quarter with 8,921 homes for sale or under construction, with 2,759 in the Tarrant area and 6,162 in the Dallas area. Both are up from a year earlier, although only narrowly in Tarrant. Builders are also whittling down the supply of vacant lots, the company said, ending the quarter with 57,787, or a 42-month supply. That's still much higher than the 24-month supply that's considered healthy, but about 15,000 of those lots are considered unusable by builders, Residential Strategies said.

-- Jim Fuquay

05/16/2012

Commercial construction appears down, ABC report says

The backlog of commercial construction projects nationwide declined to an average 7.4 months in the first quarter from the fourth quarter of 2011, the Associated Builders and Contractors said this week.

That means nonresidential construction could remain soft in the summer months, the organization said. Its construction backlog indicator is a forward-looking economic indicator that measures the amount of future construction work under contract. A drop means fewer projects are in the pipeline.

"The lull in nonresidential construction momentum is not poised to end in the immediate term," said Anirban Basu, ABC’s chief economist, in a statement. "The ongoing instability in the nation’s nonresidential construction industry appears to be related to the period of economic weakness that developed in the broader economy last year, as well as concerns regarding export growth due to recessionary forces in Europe. The result is that many prospective construction projects were cancelled or postponed."

The south region, which includes Texas, saw a slight increase in the backlog. It now takes 8.88 months to have a project started.

"Though average construction backlog in the South was roughly flat during the past quarter, backlog is up 0.72 of a month from one year ago. No other region has generated an increase in backlog that large," Basu said.

_ Sandra Baker

05/07/2012

Texas led the nation in commercial real estate development in 2011, study says

 

Commercial real estate development and construction rebounded nationwide in 2011 and Texas leads the way, according to a NAIOP Research Foundation study.

Texas posted the highest amounts of direct spending in pre-construction, construction and post-construction phases across all categories of commercial real estate. Commercial real estate includes office, industrial and retail buildings. NAIOP is a commercial real estate development association.

Texas’ development accounted for $7.9 billion in spending and 150,102 construction jobs supported, the organization said. The state moved up from No. 2 in 2010.

Nationwide, the study found that the total economic impact of development grew 12 percent, to $261.6 billion from $231.7 billion in 2010. In all, 238.3 million square feet of space was built last year, a jump of 2.5 percent over 2010. Last year was the first of gains in the commercial sector since the recession began in 2007.

Construction spending on commercial real estate totaled $92.3 billion, a more than 12 percent increase over 2010. This spending supported nearly 2 million jobs nationally.

"2011 was a transition year for the U.S. economy and the construction sector," said economist Stephen Fuller with George Mason University. "The U.S. economy shifted from a federal stimulus to private-sector driven growth pattern and construction spending grew accordingly."

Texas was followed by New York, West Virginia, California, Arizona, Utah, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts and North Carolina.

_ Sandra Baker

04/04/2012

Homebuilding increases for third straight quarter in North Texas

The number of new homes under construction was up in the first quarter compared to a year ago, the third straight quarter that new home builders have increased the number of homes they are building, the result of strong sales orders, Metrostudy said Wednesday.

"The increasing sales should lead to larger increases in starts over the next two quarters as backlogs are beginning to build for homebuilders," said David Brown, director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Fort Worth office. Metrostudy tracks home-building activity in North Texas.

"The first three months of the year are reinforcing our forecast that 2012 will be the first year of recovery in the Dallas-Fort Worth housing market," he said.

Tarrant, Denton and Collin counties accounted for most of the increase in starts, Metrostudy said.

New home closings are also increasing from the second half of 2011, Brown said, and that is expected to continue as well.

Between January and March, 3,192 homes were started, compared to 2,975 homes in the first quarter of 2011. On an annual basis, which takes in the past four quarters, home starts in Dallas-Fort Worth totaled 14,277, down slightly from 14,524 annual starts totaled in the first quarter of 2011, figures show.

In the last three years, quarterly and annual home starts peaked in the second quarter of 2010, during the time the first-time homebuyers were offered a tax incentive.

Also in the first quarter, builders closed the sale of 3,327 homes, up from 3,179 closings in the first quarter of 2011.

Inventory declined significantly in the first quarter, to 7,370 homes built from 7,671 homes a year ago, and is now at its lowest point since 1993, Brown said.

Lot inventory also dropped, to 57,645 lots, or a 48-month supply, from 65,724 lots, a 54-month supply, a year ago.

With the improving new home market, prices could go up this year, particularly in stronger submarkets, Brown said.

"As lot supplies continue to shrink in the high demand submarkets, the cost of replacement lots is increasing," he said. "These higher costs will have to be passed on to the consumer resulting in increased new home prices during the second half of the year."

_ Sandra Baker

 

03/01/2012

Cook Children's dedicates new facility

Cook Children's Medical Center today dedicated the largest part of its $250 million expansion and said it will conclude a $75 million capital campaign with a fundraising effort aimed at the general public. Cook Children's recognized its major private donors in a ceremony at the Dodson Specialty Clinics & Cancer Center building, a five-story facility containing outpatient operating rooms, doctors' offices and specialized pediatric fields. It will go into service in phases over the next six weeks, officials said.

Cook Children's Health Care System CEO Rick Merrill told a large audience that "this facility has such capacity that my grandkids will enjoy this space. (He has two teenage daughters.) Grant Harris, vice president of development for the W.I. Cook Foundation, said the capital campaign, originally set for $50 million but which has already raised $70 million from private donors, now will raise the final $5 million from the community. Expect to see billboards, advertising and plenty of social media programs to raise awareness, he said. For now, you can go to www.cookchildrenspromise.org to make a donation.

-- Jim Fuquay

 

02/27/2012

Midlothian cement kilns to adopt cleaner technology

Ash Grove Cement Co. filed a permit with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality seeking to close two of three cement kilns in Midlothian and convert the third kiln to a less-polluting production method,  according to a release issued Monday by Downwinders at Risk. Downwinders says it has worked about 20 years to reduce emissions from cement kilns in the area. It said Ash Grove's permit states that the conversion of the remaining kiln to a "dry" process will cut 105,000 tons of air pollution annually. The facility's capacity will drop from nearly 1.2 million tons of cement annually to 949,000 tons, according to Downwinders' release.

-- Jim Fuquay

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